A new study suggests that there may be a higher risk for women who experience pregnancy related complications to die of heart diseases later in life.
The cases of about 15,500 woman who became pregnant between 1959 and 1967 were analysed in the study. The women who came from Oakland, California had an average age of 26 at the beginning of the study, and 66 by the end of the study, in 2011. The researches said that 368 women died of heart disease.
The results show that for the women who had lower levels of haemoglobin during pregnancy, the likelihood of them dying from heard diseases later in life was twice as big, compared with the women who did not experience a decline of haemoglobin during pregnancy.
The researchers found that the women who had increased levels of sugar in their urine during pregnancy, had a four times bigger risk of dying from heart disease, as opposed to the women who had lower levels of sugar in their urine.
The study showed that the women who experienced a set of complications during pregnancy, had a much higher risk of dying from heart diseases. Those who were diagnosed with high blood pressure before they delivered, and delivered the babies earlier than expected, had a seven times higher risk of dying from heart diseases, as opposed to the women who did not have this particular set of complications.
Researchers also found that women whose babies were smaller than normal and women who also suffered from pre-existing high blood pressure (diagnosed with high blood pressure before they delivered), were nearly five times more likely to die from heart disease later in life, than the women who did not have this set of complications.
The women who had pre-eclampsia (high levels of sugar in urine) as well as pre-existing high blood pressure, were six times more prone to die from heart diseases, compared with women who did not experience these particular complications.
“The idea here is not necessarily that these events of pregnancy cause women to die of cardiovascular disease. The idea is that, just like a person’s cholesterol level and blood pressure are considered risk factors [for heart disease], so should those pregnancy complications,” explained Barbara A. Cohn, the director of Child Health and Development Studies at the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, California.
Cohn advises women who experience these complications during pregnancy, to talk to their physicians about them later on. Physicians should also ask women whether they experienced such complications. This way, the women’s health can be closely monitored.
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